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America’s growing porch pirate problem: How to protect yourself

8 ways to keep packages safe from being stolen

by Kurt Knutsson

Porch pirate season is upon us. The modern day grinches are out to steal Santa’s boxes being delivered to your front door. Police are warning package thieves are starting earlier and deploying more crafty tactics.

 

Package theft surging

43% of respondents in a Package Theft Statistics survey say they’ve had a delivery stolen from in front of their home at least once.  The 2020 C+R Research survey also indicates that its getting worse with package theft up 7% over the previous year making the 2021 holiday season the biggest target for porch pirates yet.

It’s time now to deploy a porch pirate plan to keep your packages safe for the holiday.

 

Amazon boxes on porch

 

How to protect packages from being stolen

By far the most useful innovation in years for package delivery security is the video doorbell.  It catches crooks on video pure and simple.

Wyze Video Doorbell lights up brightly to warn would-be porch pirates they are being watched

 

Strategy #1  Deter porch pirates with a video doorbell

Depending upon how well your police department responds to porch pirate package theft, position your video doorbell to capture the face of the pirate and your package deliveries.  Wyze Video Doorbell can push notifications to get a phone alert whenever anyone or anything approaches your door, even if they don’t ring the doorbell.

Capture visitors with 12-second videos and store them in the cloud for rolling 14 days for free.  The Wyze Video Doorbell is easy to install by swapping out your old wired doorbell button and plugging in the chime inside.  Wyze Video Doorbell is here.

 

We also added a couple of nearly invisible wireless Wyze Cam v3 cameras on tree limbs near the street at our house in hopes of being able to record a license plate if ever needed for police.  I can set them to send a notification when the camera detects a person or car.

Deter Porch Pirates With A Video Doorbell

The wireless camera that is inexpensive and solid is called Wyze Cam v3 and has night vision that looks like daylight when viewing in the dark of night.  This do-it-all, indoor/outdoor smart security camera with color night vision is the easiest way to start your smart home.  Cam Plus for $1.99 per month has package and person detection to alert you when either are detected.  I have more than 12 of these around our home perimeter and love them.

 

Strategy #2 Pick a delivery date

Strategy #2 Pick A Delivery Date

Amazon and others let you pick the day of the week to receive packages

Get packages delivered on a day you know someone will be home to receive them.   Amazon and several retailers offer to ship for delivery on specific days of the week.  That way it easier to monitor when packages are mostly likely to arrive and can be safely stashed.

 

Strategy #3 Sign up for delivery notifications

Strategy #3 Sign Up For Delivery Notifications

Delivery notifications alert you when a package just arrived

You can get an alert each time a package arrives at your doorstep.  Both FedEx and UPS will send a text when you’ve just received a delivery.   Amazon will also send you a shipment text letting you know a package was just delivered.

To setup Amazon delivery notifications, follow these quick steps.

  1. Log on to the Amazon site
  2. Go to Your Account here
  3. Scroll down to the Communication and content section
  4. Tap Shipment Updates via Text
  5. Follow on screen instructions and then tap Subscribe

 

Strategy #4  Talk to your delivery drivers

US Postal carriers and Amazon delivery driver

Talk with your mail carrier, UPS and FedEx delivery drivers

Say hello to the folks normally delivering packages.  Ask them to place your deliveries in a less visible spot if you are not home.   The key is getting your packages out of view of opportunistic porch pirates that may be driving by looking for easy prey.

 

Strategy #5  Send your packages to Amazon Lockers

Amazon Locker

A nearby Amazon Locker maybe secure but not convenient

Opting for delivery to a nearby lockbox called Amazon Lockers is a very secure method to dodge package theft in many cities.  I tried it once and found it to be a hassle to make an extra trip to receive deliveries but is indeed more secure than leaving an order on my porch.  You get notified when packages are awaiting your retrieval.  You enter the Locker code to get your items.  See how far away the nearest Amazon Locker is located to your home.
Find the nearest Amazon Locker.

 

Strategy #6 Add a Locking Delivery Box

Locking delivery box keeps porch pirates from getting to your packages

The Elephantrunk  Parcel Drop sits in front of your home on your porch.  Most common sized packages will fit inside the secure compartment standing 37.2 inches tall.   The deliveries go into the top of the box and drop into the locked chamber that only you can unlock.  A shock absorbing cushion keeps fragile items protected.

The inventor, Architectural Mailboxes, includes everything you need from a sign to instruct delivery folks to supplying a bolt to secure it into the ground 2.5″ deep with the included screw keeps it porch pirate proof.   It’s made of tough weather-resistant aluminum weighing 40 pounds and scores high reviews here on Amazon.

 

Strategy #7 Amazon Key In-Garage Delivery

Add a smart opener and Amazon will deliver in your garage

We added a strong deadbolt to the door leading into the house from the garage before signing up.  Now, when we are not home, an Amazon delivery can be placed securely inside our garage using the free service called Amazon Key.    The addition of a smart garage controller like myQ is the first step.   Once you’ve signed up for Amazon Key, pick Key Delivery when checking out on Amazon to have your packages securely put in the garage. I really like that you can block access to your garage any time you want.  The driver never needs your garage code and access only works for their one-time delivery.    Put in your zip code here to see if  the free Amazon Key service is available in your area.

My Q Smart Garage Controller

MyQ smart garage controller works with major brands for Amazon Key delivery inside your garage

The MyQ Smart Garage controller is compatible with all major garage openers and available here.

 

Strategy #8 Monitor nearby package theft reports

Strategy #8 Monitor Nearby Package Theft Reports

Apps like NextDoor and Neighbors warn when nearby porch pirates are reported

Sign up for neighborhood porch pirate alerts from popular local networks like Neighbors and Nextdoor apps.  This is where people often post when they’ve had a package stolen and sometimes upload video or images of the suspected porch pirates.   We’ve been about to identify a suspected porch pirate previously seen on one of these neighborhood apps so that our friends and neighbors can also be on the the lookout for these package thieves that seem to strike in seconds flat.

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